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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 10:26 GMT
Kafer resigns as Saracens coach
Rod Kafer
Rod Kafer has only been at Saracens for 18 months
Saracens head coach Rod Kafer has resigned from the Premiership club.

The 33-year-old Australian, who replaced Wayne Shelford in August 2003, has decided to stand down after a disappointing start to the season.

Saracens have decided to promote from within, with rugby manager Steve Diamond named as Kafer's replacement.

"Following talks about extending my contract, I came to the conclusion that my preference was to seek opportunities elsewhere," Kafer said.

"In light of this, chief executive Mark Sinderberry and I have decided that it is in the club's best interests that I stand down as head coach immediately.

"I would like to thank both Mark and the board of directors for their unwavering support during the last 18 months and wish the playing and management staff all the best for the remainder of the season."

Kafer, who was part of the Australia team that won the World Cup in 1999, has been linked with a move to the new Perth-based Super 14 side.

Saracens, the perennial under-achievers in the Premiership, have had a poor start to the season with only four victories in the first 11 league games.

Steve Diamond knows the club and the players and we believe he is the right person to take the role
Saracens chief executive Mark Sinderberry

Despite finishing third from bottom last season, hopes were high for this campaign but they are currently eighth in the table.

However the news of Kafer's decision comes just two days after their convincing 52-6 victory over Parma in the European Challenge Cup.

Sinderberry said: "On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank Rod for his efforts over the past 18 months.

"He took over the club at a difficult time and he leaves us in a better position with a more focused coaching and playing structure."

Diamond is the latest man to be charged with winning Saracens' first trophy since the 1998 Tetley's Bitter Cup.

He joined the club back in March after a successful three years with Sale.

Together with Jim Mallinder, Diamond steered the club to second in the Premiership as well as Parker Pen Shield glory.

"Steve will now take on the role of head coach and will be supported by the existing coaching staff," said Sinderberry.

"When Steve was appointed, it was with a view that he would succeed Rod should he take the decision to leave Saracens.

"Steve knows the club and the players and we believe he is the right person to take the role."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Saracens' coach Steve Diamond




SEE ALSO
European Challenge Cup review
12 Dec 04 |  European Club
Harlequins 40-10 Saracens
12 Nov 04 |  English


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